I hadn't planned on reading this book after being so disappointed with Phillips's last series. So I thought I'd pass on this one. But I...moreRating 4.5 / 5
I hadn't planned on reading this book after being so disappointed with Phillips's last series. So I thought I'd pass on this one. But I picked it up at Wal-Mart, read the back and thought it sounded interesting so I decided to give it a chance. It was a good decision. I liked this book quite a bit.
Series Note: First book in Phillips's new series “Serendipity” about a small New York town of the same name.
Summary: Faith Harrington is returning to her hometown with her tail between her legs. Her father is an admitted Ponzi schemer now in jail, her ex-husband a cheating bastard, and her mom in total denial. So she's returned home to try to restart her life and to for once be her true self, not what everyone else wants her to be. Fate throws a monkey wrench in her plans when she realizes town bad boy Ethan Barron is also back, and he's bought her former family mansion.
For Ethan, it should be a proud moment, the bad boy coming home to roost with wealth and a great job. But he's still living with the guilt of inadvertently causing his parents' deaths and abandoning his two younger brothers. He hopes by returning home he can repair his relationship with them. He didn't count on Faith.
As soon as the two meet again, the chemistry of a long ago tryst reels its head and the two can't stay away from each other. Neither wanted a relationship, but that seems to be exactly what they got. But nothing is ever simple. Ethan's family issues come to a head and Faith must continue to deal with the fallout of her father's crimes, both of which threaten their relationship.
Review: I've been reading Carly Phillips's books since not long after I started reading romance novels. And I've enjoyed most of what I've read of hers...except for her last series. Phillips's books have always been light, but the “Bachelor Blogs” series dipped into silly slapstick comedy that I just didn't enjoy. It made me wary of reading her next book. And I almost decided not to read it at all, but I gave it a chance. Glad I did, this book was really good.
It's pretty much standard contemporary romance in that it's all about the characters, the romance, and the generic drama in their lives. The storyline is not complicated; it's pretty simple but it's a story that works and Phillips tells it well.
I enjoyed both the hero and heroine a lot. Faith is the rich girl whose life is turned upside down by betrayal. She's loses almost everything and has to start over. I found her very likable. Instead of having a pity party for herself, she picks up and tries to move on as best she can. And she handles the surprises in Ethan's life very well. And poor Ethan. The guy made some terrible mistakes as a teenager and still hasn't forgiving himself. But he's a very caring guy. I loved how Phillips wrote his character. You start off expecting a bad buy Alpha, but then you see he's a genuinely nice guy who handles an unexpected revelation in his life amazingly well.
Both characters were great to read about, and they had wonderful chemistry together. They seemed to fit very well together. The progression of their relationship came across very natural. Nothing felt forced or manufactured. And there's some moderately steamy sex to go along. Always a plus ;)
As for storyline...like I said, it's not a complicated story, but I enjoyed it. Phillips really kept me reading wanting to know how things would go with Ethan and Faith, what would happen with Ethan's “family issues,” how Faith would continue to deal with what her father did, etc. I just wanted to keep reading to see who it would all work out. And once I was done, I wanted to move onto the next book...which I'm disappointed to learn won't be out for over a year (winter 2012).
So for those of you who read Phillips last series and were disappointed in it, didn't like the sort of slapstick feel, this book is a great improvement. It's much more typical of what Phillips usually writes and I'm glad I decided to read it.(less)
I was hoping that I'd like this book more than I did the first one...and for a while in the beginning I thought I was going to enjoy, b...moreRating: 2.5 / 5
I was hoping that I'd like this book more than I did the first one...and for a while in the beginning I thought I was going to enjoy, but then it slipped down to just average. It just didn't hit the right spots for me.
Series Note: Second book in Phillips' "Bachelor Blogs" series. Possibly a standalone, but the setup is introduced in book 1.
Summary: Sara Rios and Rafe Mancuso were once partners on the police force who had a lot of unspoken chemistry between them, but Rafe transferred to hostage negotiation. The two reunite to do some off-duty security work at a charity auction. Things go wrong and Rafe is stabbed and Sara injures her knee. The situation puts Rafe in the spotlight and earns him a spot in the Bachelor Blog.
To escape the notoriety - and the reminder of his feelings for Sara - Rafe goes back to his small hometown for some rest and recuperation. But Sara also finds herself in the spotlight, which is not a good thing when she's supposed to be lying low since she's the star witness at an upcoming murder trial. So she chases after Rafe, hoping he'll help keep her safe. The situation forces them to confront their feelings for each other. Rafe hopes their can be a future for them, but Sara is seriously commitment-phobic and she'll have to do some major reevaluating of her life before she can give Rafe what he wants.
Review: I don't know whether it's that these light, beach-read type contemporary romances just don't do it for me anymore, or whether it was this book that didn't work for me. Either way, it was just an average read that mostly bored me, but didn't slip into "this book sucks" realm.
The first little bit seemed promising and I thought I was going to enjoy the book. I liked the chemistry between Sara and Rafe and the situation they found themselves in. It had a lot of potential to develop into a nice romance. But Phillips lost me along the way.
I got tired of Sara's commitment phobia. For someone who seemed so smart, she was dumb about relationships. I just got tired of her "it didn't work for them, it didn't work for them...so obviously it doesn't work for ANYBODY." Plus, it was such a typical, over-used romantic conflict that had nothing to set it apart from everything else out there. I wanted more from these two characters.
But that wasn't where the book lost me. It was the "plot." I liked the part about Sara being the target of hitmen because of the trial she was to testify in and I thought that would be the focus of the book...instead, this weird, sort of slap-stick storyling jumps of that had me rolling my eyes and thinking "good grief." It deals with Rafe's uncle procuring Canadian Viagra for his buddies as a secret side-venture...then somehow, a big-time drug dealer finds out and sends two of his goons to "convince" the uncle to start getting harder drugs and using the uncle's business trucks to ship them. It was so ridiculous. The whole thing had me shaking my head and totally bored. It was a weird aspect to the book.
Then there was a lot of focus on Rafe's brother's marital problems which took time away from what I wanted to read about. And there's the whole Bachelor Blog thing...
Really, this book didn't work for me much on any level. I had planned to give this one 3 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more the book didn't work for me. So it's a weak 2.5 stars. I'm disappointed in how this series went. I've read a lot of Phillips stuff and I think these two books are by far my least favorites of them bunch.(less)
I'm not a huge Carly Phillips fan, but I tend to enjoy her books. This one was just so-so for me. Not bad, not good, just fairly average.
Series Note: F...moreI'm not a huge Carly Phillips fan, but I tend to enjoy her books. This one was just so-so for me. Not bad, not good, just fairly average.
Series Note: First book in Phillips new series "Bachelor Blogs" about sexy bachelors in NYC and the women they fall for.
Summary: Crime reporter Sam Coop is at his favorite hot dog stand one day when he sees a robbery in progress at a nearby jewelry store. Coop leaps into action and manages to capture the robber. The jewelry store owner is so grateful she lets Coop pick a piece of jewelry as a reward. He chooses an old, gaudy antique ring. Coop is later horrified to learn that his escapades capture the attention of a blogger who writes "The Bachelor Blogs" and he's now the newest hot bachelor in NYC. He's inundated with women wanting his attention.
But Lexie Davis wants his attention for another reason. She saw the ring he received on TV and is interested in buying it for her grandmother since it looks similar to a necklace her grandmother owns. When Lexie and Coop meet, sparks fly. But Coop is interested in learning about the ring's past - as it appears to be part of a set stolen in the 50's. Unfortunately, Coop's digging might implicate Lexie's family. Their newfound relationship might not survive the turmoil - or the fundamental differences between homebody Coop and world traveler Lexie.
Review: I don't have a whole lot to say about this book. There wasn't anything really great about it that I want to gush over and there wasn't anything really horrible that I need to criticize. The book was pretty average on all levels.
The romance was okay. I liked both characters individually. Coop seemed like a really great guy, and Lexie was nice. But I'm not sure I bought into these two being together. They're so fundamentally different in how they live their lives. Coop's a creature of habit and homebody, and Lexie's a traveler who likes to just pick up and go when she feels like it. She doesn't even have her own place to live. She just stays with her grandmother when she's in town. So it was hard to picture these two sticking together. They seem to work it out in the end, but I'm still not sure I bought into it.
There's also a bit of a suspense plot to the book. This is one of those contemporary romances that gives almost equal time to a plot separate from the romance. I don't think Phillips normally goes that route. But it was an okay plot. The secrets and stuff were fairly obvious. I knew how it was going to work out early in the book. It was a quirky story, though.
On the whole, though, there was just something missing from this story and I have no idea what. It didn't capture my attention in any way and it was just a story I was reading. There wasn't enough intensity in the suspense aspect to make it a romantic suspense and intriguing to read. And the romance was iffy for me so it didn't snag me there either. There was just something bland about this story. But it didn't make the book impossible to read, just not as engaging as I'd have liked.
The ending, though, which sets up the next book, hooked me enough that I've moved book two up on my TBR list. But yeah, for you Phillips fans, I think you will most likely enjoy it enough. This is a book for those of you who like light-hearted romance, though.(less)
I really enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, so I had high hopes for the 3rd and final book. And though this book was in no way terrible or e...moreI really enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, so I had high hopes for the 3rd and final book. And though this book was in no way terrible or even particularly bad, I did find it to be a bit disappointing. I was expecting something better.
Series Note: this is the 3rd and last book in Phillips's Lucky trilogy. Though you may possibly be able to read this book on its own and understand enough, I'd recommend reading the entire trilogy in order. There's a lot of background and continuing issues you'd miss if you didn't.
Summary: Jason Corwin is the last of the single males of his generation. His two cousins Mike and Derek have bucked the curse - the one that said any Corwin male who falls in love is doomed to lose it and any fortune he might have - and have married their true loves. Jason doesn't particularly focus too much on the curse, especially right now when his life is in shambles. His aspiration to become and Olympic snowboarder is over due to a woman who snuck a banned substance to him and caused him to test positive and be kicked out of the sport. So now he is back home, making due as a general contractor and not sure where his life is going.
Then Lauren Perkins (ancestor to the Perkins who cast the Corwin Curse) comes back to town. Years ago the two had had a teenage dalliance before Lauren's grandmother forced her to leave town (the same grandmother who was the blackmailing, conniving mayor in the previous books). Now Lauren is back to deal with the fallout of her grandmother's death, and her sister's criminal actions and subsequent mental breakdown. The last thing she expected to find was Jason Corwin and the chemistry that still drew them together.
Lauren hires Jason to help fix up her grandmother's house before she sells it and has every intention of keeping her distance from him, but the two can't keep their hands off each other. Lauren gives in, but it's only temporary, she's leaving town as soon as the house is dealt with. But then her house is vandalized, set on fire, and everything gets complicated, including her feelings. These two have a lot to work through before they can deal with their feelings for each other.
Review: I was rather looking forward to reading Jason's story after the previous books introduced him and the scandal he was facing. I thought his story was going to be really interesting and I wanted to see how he worked things out in his life. But after reading this book I was rather disappointed in how...neglected...Jason was in this story. Plus, on the whole, I felt the storyline was rather cliched.
When I realized what direction Phillips was going with this story - which was of a Corwin (suffering from the Corwin Curse) falling for a Perkins (whose ancestor started the curse - I kinda wanted to role my eyes because it's such an utterly predictable, cliched and typical storyline. For me, the been-there-done-that feeling of the story hook overrode any hmmm-isn't-that-interesting factor of a Corwin and a Perkins getting together. I would rather have had something more unique than the Perkins/Corwin hook-up. Just too typical. It's the type of storyline that's fairly common in romance books and it bored me as I read the story.
I also, for whatever reason, just couldn't really get into Lauren's storyline. I found it rather dull to read about how she's trying to fix up that house, how she's short on money, how she's neglected by her family, how she's trying to stay loyal to her whacko sister, how she's afraid of mice, etc etc etc. It was just a lackluster story aspect...at least for me.
I was much more interested in Jason and his situation. And unfortunately, he always seemed to come in second to Lauren in this book. I didn't think his career situation and the direction of his life was given nearly as much attention in the book as it should have gotten. It all seemed to be about Lauren, her situation, and and about Jason's "unrequited" feelings for her. I would have been much more interested in the book if Jason issue's had gotten equal time to Lauren's.
But despite the way those things bothered me, I didn't hate the book. They just made it an average read and a little disappointed. The romance was pretty good, had a bit of steamy-ness. I liked the cat, and the parts with the Corwin family. And probably a few other things. I just didn't feel as engrossed in this story as I did the first two. But it was still worth reading to close out the trilogy. (less)
Really enjoyed this 2nd book in the "Lucky" trilogy. The characters, the storyline, and the romance all engaged me and had me wanting to keep reading....moreReally enjoyed this 2nd book in the "Lucky" trilogy. The characters, the storyline, and the romance all engaged me and had me wanting to keep reading.
The basis for this series is that there is a curse on the Corwin males where if they fall in love, they will lose their woman and their money. It's affected the family for generations and now the current group of cousins must deal with it to move on with their futures.
Mike Corwin is a Boston police officer. He goes to Vegas for his partner's wedding and ends up meeting Amber Rose. They spend a day together having a lot of fun and on the spur of the moment decided to get married. Mike also ends up winning $150k from a slot machine. But when he wakes up the next morning, his money and his new wife are gone.
Amber hates herself for what she did to Mike, but she's in a boatload of trouble. So she did what she had to do. Of course, Mike isn't going to just forget about it. He has every intention of finding Amber and settling things...that is if Amber doesn't find him first.
I think one of the things I liked best about this book was that the storyline didn't go quite as I expected it would. From reading the back cover, I figured the story would involve Mike going on a search for Amber, her trying to avoid him and not telling him the truth and whatnot. But things actually go kind of the opposite. Amber tracks Mike down, apologizes, tells him mostly the truth and then insinuates herself in his life. She does everything to try to get him to forgive her and give her a chance. I just really like how the story progressed in that sense. And I liked that it was a direction I hadn't expected.
There's also a great use of family and supporting characters. The situation with Mike's father - whose life is pretty much crippled because of his worries over the curse - was interesting and I liked how Phillips used it in the book. There were some good dynamics regarding family interactions, and emotional scars resulting from the curse.
Romance-wise...Amber and Mike have some great chemistry. They can't resist each other in bed, but have a lot of trouble dealing with everything else. I thought Phillips did a great job exploring the various ups and downs of the relationship and how all the outside forces factored in. Each character has to face things they've done and things they've let rule their life before they can truly commit to each other. For me, the romance just worked really well.
I also enjoyed the little smidge of suspense thrown in with some of Amber's past coming up to bite her on the butt. It gave the story a little variety and a little bit of tension. Plus it fit the storyline well.
So overall, this was a really solid contemporary romance and another winner from Carly Phillips. Nothing about it bothered me and I pretty much enjoyed reading it cover to cover. It's sweet and sexy, has great sense of family, and a nice storyline that gives the book a sense of direction instead of being just mushy, mindless fluff. I'm really looking forward to the last book in the trilogy, which was set up in this one. Should be interesting finding out what happens with Jason Corwin.(less)
One of the better Carly Phillips books I've read. I enjoy her stories, but I have to be in a certain mood to read something light like Phillips writes...moreOne of the better Carly Phillips books I've read. I enjoy her stories, but I have to be in a certain mood to read something light like Phillips writes. This one was a solid 4-star, leaning toward 4.5 for me.
The base of this series is that many generations before, after one man stole another man's woman, a curse was placed on the Corwin family men saying that any man who married for love would lose his woman and his fortune. And in the years since, everything that has happened has seemed to support the curse being real. Which was why when things got too serious between Derek Corwin and his high school sweetheart Gabrielle Donovan, he broke things off. He couldn't risk the curse happening again.
Years later, Derek is divorced and a lot less wealthier than he had been. He believes the curse is still full force. But Gabrielle has spent the intervening years becoming a popular writer who debunks myths. And now that she knows Derek is back in their hometown, she's decided to go after what she wants. Because she never stopped loving him. All she has to do is prove to him that the curse is just a state of mind and that they can have their happily ever after.
This book definitely has a unique and interesting storyline. Derek and Gabrielle had a great chemistry and loved each other a lot, but an old curse kept them apart. I don't think I've read anything like that before. And I enjoy reading new and different story hooks. So points for that!
I liked Gabby a lot. She was sassy and spunky and went after what she wanted. She'd let Derek send her away years ago, but now she was going to do anything to get him back. It was enjoyable reading about a woman doing the chasing for once (since it often seems to be the man doing so). And Derek was cool too. You can't help but feel sorry for him because he wants something so bad but thinks he can't have it.
There's also a small suspense aspect in the book. Someone is threatening Gabrielle and blackmailing her best friend. Plus the antagonist didn't end up being quite who I thought it would be. I did think maybe this part of the book could have been a smidge stronger, but then again, this was mostly romance so I guess it fit.
On the whole, a nice, light read. Some good romance, a unique plot, good characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to see where the series goes in the next book.(less)
Very enjoyable lighter-side romance. This was an easy book to read. I liked the characters, the romance was good, and there were some nice side storie...moreVery enjoyable lighter-side romance. This was an easy book to read. I liked the characters, the romance was good, and there were some nice side stories to keep the book moving. Plus it was sports related, which the big sports fan in me loved.
Hot Property is the fourth and last book in Phillips Hot Zone series which is about a sports agency called Hot Zone. This one can probably be read as a standalone, but some of the side details may be confusing because they started in other books. But the actual story in this book can mostly stand on its own.
Amy Stone is a new publicist at Hot Zone, courtesy of nepotism, but she's not complaining. After years of taking care of her family, trying to keep their wild ways under control, she's decided it is time to be independent and live her own life. So she moves from Florida to New York for her new job. The last thing she expected was for her first client to be star centerfielder John Roper - a man she had a run-in with a few months earlier at a wedding. She doesn't want to work with him, but John is in desperate need of help. His life is way out of control...an injury, a bad World Series, a demanding family, negative publicity, a stalker... So Amy takes on the job of bringing order to his life. Along the way, she realizes John isn't the man she first thought he was. She can't help the feelings that develop...but she wants nothing to do with the media blitz that seems to surround him. So she will just help him get control of his life and move on. John has other ideas. He realizes Amy is a keeper.
I really enjoyed the romance aspect between John and Amy. They build up a friendship and get to know each other before things move further. Of course, they wanted each other from the start, but they hold off on acting on the lust. So it was nice to get to read the progression of the relationship between them.
It was also nice to revisit past characters from the series. Yank is rather amusing. It's a little disappointing that this will be the last book in the series.
The side stories in the book were pretty good as well...John's demanding family, Amy's crazy family, John's stalker, the media attention John gets...it gave the book a little depth and kept it from just being about the romance.
For those of you who like Carly Phillips or have read other Hot Zone books, then I think you will enjoy this one. It's a fun, light-hearted book.(less)
One thing you can always expect from a Carly Phillips book is that it'll be a light-hearted, sweet, sexy romance. Sealed With A Kiss de...moreRating: 3.5 / 5
One thing you can always expect from a Carly Phillips book is that it'll be a light-hearted, sweet, sexy romance. Sealed With A Kiss definitely follows along that line. Though I do have to say that this book is a little more angsty in the beginning, and a little more emotionally deep than many of her other books.
If you plan to read this book, I'd highly recommend reading Phillips' book Cross My Heart first, as the two are connected. Not plot-wise, but character wise. Readers first meet the hero and heroine of Sealed With A Kiss in the previous book and there are a lot of references in this book to their prior interactions and events that happened between them. I read the last book quite a while ago, and though I remember enough about the book, the details of Molly and Hunter's relationship were quite fuzzy and it annoyed me that I couldn't remember more.
Anyway, in Sealed With A Kiss, it's been eight months since Molly left Hunter and his proposal behind in order to find the sense of family that has always been missing from her life. And she did find it with the discovery of her biological father and his family. But now her father stands accused of murder and Molly knows that Hunter, a great defense attorney, is the only person who can help clear his name. What she doesn't know is if he will help after how she left him.
At first, Hunter says no, but after one meeting with Molly, he realizes he still hasn't gotten her out from under his skin. So he agrees to help with the full intention that he'd allow her back into his life, but that this time he would be the one to walk away before she leaves him again. And he knows she will. No matter how happy Molly may say she is, Hunter knows that she still hasn't gotten over her issues and sense of need. Between her issues and his own - arising from being abandoned as a child - the two have a long path before they can find happiness together.
I really can't think of much to say about this book. It was pretty good. I didn't struggle through reading it...actually finished fairly quickly. And there was some yummy, hot sex. But for me, it just didn't have any kind of special zing to it. It was just kind of a sweet romance that I enjoyed reading, but not one that stood out in any way.
I liked the characters and storyline, and I thought it had a nice level of emotional development. It's a nice read for when you want something lighter and less serious, something that'll give you a smile and a sigh.(less)
**spoiler alert** I always seem to enjoy Carly Phillips books because they are so easy to read. She has a nice style of writing, good flow and structu...more**spoiler alert** I always seem to enjoy Carly Phillips books because they are so easy to read. She has a nice style of writing, good flow and structure. She fits into that nice middle-ground in her style of writing that makes for good readability. Some authors these days seem to go way overboard with complex sentences to the point where you have to read the sentence more than once to try and figure out what the point of the phrase it. It's a real pain to read a sentence like this: She walked toward the window, ignoring the fact that she was wearing no slippers and the floor was cold - and besides, who knew where she'd put the slippers - she didn't need them anyway, and despite the fact that she knew the fog outside would make it impossible to see anything, and peered out the glass pane. That's an over-simplified example, but anyway, by the time you get to a sentence like that your brain is a little scrambled trying to assimilate all the parts and figuring out what the main point was. Phillips avoids that pitfall and also doesn't go to simple in structure. It just makes her writing easy to read. I zipped right through this book.
That's not to say I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed it, but I've read better books. When it comes to these light-hearted, more fun books, I never seem to love them. I just like books that are a bit more emotional or suspenseful. But I did like the book for what it was. I think you have to have read the first book in the series to fully appreciate and understand all the dynamics, but I think it would make sense enough on it's own. It's got good characters, a decent romance, a tiny smidge of suspense, and some humor. A nice combo.
I guess perhaps it was the romance that I found lacking a little bit. Something about it didn't quite work for me, but I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it was that whole instantaneous thing. The characters don't really fall in love over time in this book...it was more like a splat, and that's not my favorite things. Whenever authors go that way, they seem to neglect other aspects of the relationship. I also found Zoe's reason for putting off a serious relationship with Ryan kinda weird. Her issues seemed a bit too severe for the underlying reason. It made her a bit too neurotic and fickly.
Anyway, if you're fan of fun, flirty books, you'll probably enjoy this one. (less)